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Awesome Destinations for Your First Solo Trip

I’m a firm believer that everyone should try traveling solo at some point in their lives. You may have plenty of friends and family members who make for wonderful travel companions, but traveling alone offers so many extra opportunities for self-discovery, personal growth, and cultural connection.

With common sense and level-headed research, there’s no reason why women can’t travel solo to all corners of the world (many do!); however, I admit that traveling alone can seem intimating, especially as a woman and especially if you haven’t tried it before. Here are a few destinations that I think are perfect for uneasy first-time solo travelers: They’re safe, welcoming, and, most importantly, very cool!

England

England is easily the best country in the world for a nervous North American traveler to visit. The culture is different enough from home to be exciting, but familiar enough to feel comfortable. My mom grew up in England, and I’ve visited numerous times over the years. I occasionally worry that England might start to become boring for me, but even after repeated trips I find there’s always more to discover.

One of the best parts of traveling alone in England is that many of its most well-known attractions are museums, monuments, and historic buildings, which I think are particularly solo-traveler-friendly. You can linger over interesting exhibits or read descriptive panels without feeling like you might be holding up your non-existent travel companion. Visiting these types of attractions alone is also a great opportunity to grab an audio guide and get completely absorbed into the site’s story.

Sweden

Full disclosure: I visited Stockholm with my boyfriend; but regardless, I couldn’t help but notice that it ticks all the boxes I look for when it comes to ideal solo travel destinations: Most locals were friendly and spoke some English, plus the city was clean, beautiful, and safe (it was ranked 4 on the 2015 Safe Cities Index). I adored Stockholm, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return to alone to explore more of Sweden.

As an added bonus, Sweden is a bit more undiscovered than many other areas of Europe. I’m sure you know countless people who’ve visited France and Italy, but how many people do you know that have been to Sweden? It’s a fantastic choice if you want to travel to somewhere slightly less mainstream, yet still accessible.

Japan

Japan regularly ranks among the world’s safest countries. When I lived in Takayama, I rarely locked my front door when I went out and never locked my car. One of my co-workers once commented that if you ever felt a stranger touch your bag in a crowd, it’d be reasonable to assume they were returning something you had dropped rather than trying to steal your wallet.

Plus, Japan is just one of my favorite places in the entire world. The food is incredible, the transportation system is insanely efficient, and the culture couldn’t get much more different than the West. The language barrier might be a touch daunting for some, particularly if you visit smaller towns where few people speak English, but most locals are willing to work through the communication barrier with you. Japan provides a fantastic introduction to solo travel as well as to Asia as a whole.

17 Responses to Awesome Destinations for Your First Solo Trip

  1. Camilla September 2, 2015 at 6:53 AM #

    Great post! It’s so interesting to hear about the general attitude and culture in Japan and how different it is to our own. It sounds like a very nice place and, of course, a beautiful country too!

  2. Minh Nguyen September 2, 2015 at 7:16 AM #

    I agree the Japan thing. it’s safe, very safe, people are polite. Transportation is good but also depends on the cities you visit. Metro systems in Tokyo are crazy as there are a lot of lines. I like the trams in Hiroshima and buses in Kyoto. And there is one option for you list: Korea

  3. LisaLDN September 2, 2015 at 7:46 AM #

    I agree with these! Sweden is definitely the best Scandinavian country to visit alone, they are way nicer than us Norwegians, haha! 🙂

  4. Susanna September 2, 2015 at 8:13 AM #

    Great list. I took my first major trip this year and went to the United Kingdom. Granted, for the majority of the time I had a friend with me, but I can see how it would still have been fun alone. Particularly because, as you mentioned, everyone moves through museums and monuments at different paces, so there are som advantages to going alone.

    My first real solo trip will be a short stop in Reykjavik in two weeks. Iceland is one of the safest places on earth, plus most people speak English. So I am hoping that it will be another great solo destination. We shall see : )

  5. thesolotourist September 2, 2015 at 9:02 AM #

    I think Korea is much easier to travel solo than Japan and people there are much friendlier. Korea was my first solo travel spot and it was so easy to be there. Don’t get me wrong though as Japan is my favourite place in the World. I’d also suggest Denmark. Everyone there speaks English and they are so friendly.

  6. Michelle September 2, 2015 at 12:26 PM #

    I would love to visit any of these places. I haven’t gone on a solo trip (except for a work trip), so it’s definitely something I need to try 🙂

  7. Kate September 2, 2015 at 3:51 PM #

    My first solo travel experience was in Sweden, and it was amazing! I felt so safe, and everyone was very welcoming and helpful! I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in solo travel 🙂

  8. Jane M September 2, 2015 at 8:28 PM #

    I’d add Western Canada to this list. Lots of adventure to be had, but everyone is very friendly and helpful if you need it. Plus, the Canadian dollar is in the tank right now, so a perfect place for budget-friendly fun.

  9. Kat Caprice September 3, 2015 at 10:45 AM #

    Hi Jess! I definitely agree with your recommendation for England, especially if you are coming from an native English speaking country. I would specifically recommend London as there is so much going on and extremely to meet people everywhere you do. I would also put Bath forward, as it is such a beautiful and quintessential town like no other. Two very opposite cities but both would have a lot to show a solo traveler.

    Japan is on my bucketlist as well and I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed it!

    Happy travels 🙂 Kat x

  10. Katya September 6, 2015 at 1:16 PM #

    I found South East Asia very safe and interesting to go as a solo traveller. Also, from my experience, the travellers you meet in Asian hostels are more friendly and open-minded comparing to travelling in Europe.

    Katya

    • Steph September 7, 2015 at 5:00 PM #

      I did Cambodia and Laos alone without any problems but I’m glad I cut my teeth in Japan first.

  11. scarlet ive September 7, 2015 at 8:54 AM #

    As a girl, I always try solo trip. But my parents always restrict me for solo… and i never go anywhere solo. but after reading this post my parents give me permission…

  12. Chaitanya Bijoy September 16, 2015 at 2:59 AM #

    Hi Jessica,
    I have always wanted to take a solo trip to a foreign land but have shied away from it in the past. The destinations you have listed in your blog seem easy and same yet at the same time beautiful and unique. I have now made up my mind to travel to England the first chance I get.

  13. Lauren @ a tipsy gypsy life September 19, 2015 at 3:24 PM #

    This is great! I would also consider starting in Barcelona. It’s very safe plus tons of young travelers visit each year. Japan is AWESOME though, wish I had more time there 🙂

  14. Surabhi September 24, 2015 at 1:34 AM #

    I’m going to Sweden alone tomorrow, and is feeling a bit doubtful and worried about what would happen, .. haha. Your post as given me a new motivation, and reason why I should travel alone.

  15. Kourtney November 10, 2015 at 3:03 PM #

    Hello Jessica, I wanna try these recommendations of yours and to do my first ever solo trip next year. I will visit first Sweden and experience its beauty and of course conquer the views at Stockholm. These really are informative. Thumbs-up for this post.

  16. artwin January 10, 2016 at 9:48 AM #

    I’d also recommend one of the Baltic states, either Lithuania, Estonia or Latvia. The reasons are: all of them are pretty developed countries with all the conveniences (and safe also); they are small, which means you are never too far from a city and it is possible to see all the country on a bike (which solo travelers often choose a main vehicle)

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